Saturday, December 6, 2014

No Pardon for Mark Wahlberg!

I hadn't heard this story before, but it pretty much exemplifies the entitled feeling of celebrities:

Mark Wahlberg should not be pardoned
In April 1988, Mark Wahlberg, 16, set upon a Vietnamese immigrant named Thanh Lam, and, with a wooden stick, beat him so severely that Lam fell to the ground, unconscious. Later that night, according to contemporaneous accounts, Wahlberg found another Asian man, Hoa Trinh, and, calling him a "gook" and "slant eye," smashed him in the face.

Trinh lost sight in his right eye.

Wahlberg was arrested, convicted, and spent 45 days in jail, an experience that hardened him for the rest of his younger days and provided him creative fodder for many of his later projects. He has insisted that, despite his liberal use of racial slurs, race did not motivate his attack. His intoxication, apparently, did.
Only 45 days for destroying the sight in someones eyes?
Twenty-six years later, Wahlberg wants a formal pardon from the commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Why? He has devoted the rest of his life to being a model citizen. His movies do not glorify violence (apparently). He has contributed significantly to his community. He has mentored many young boys away from a life of crime. He has demonstrated, in deed, a respect for the police.

His pardon application includes the following ambition: "My hope is that, if I receive a pardon, troubled youths will see this as an inspiration and motivation that they too can turn their lives around."
Mark seems to be doing just fine for himself despite whatever the legal ramifications of an obviously racially motivated attack on someone which led to a permanent disability.  I hope he's paying Trinh handsomely. He's lucky we're not sticking by the Old Testament rule of "an eye for an eye." I think he can go a few more years without being pardoned. But he can probably buy a pardon from Deval Patrick for  a few thousand dollar donation to his re-election campaign and a few movie passes.

The author, Marc Ambinder, has another suggestion:
Interesting logic. It works better, though, with this rewrite: "My hope is that, by not seeking a pardon, troubled youths will know that their actions have repercussions, even if they later become wealthy celebrities. Although this wonderful country provides plenty of opportunity for them to turn their lives around, they can never use their renown to erase the indelible consequences of their decisions."
While generally in favor of second and third chances, yeah. Pardon him when Trinh gets his full eyesight back.


  1. What difference does it make to him now anyway? Is he ineligible to vote? Can't get a Concealed Carry Permit? It's a juvenile record, probably can have it expunged. Only served 45 days, so not a felony conviction?

    What's his angle to get worked up about it now? Raising it now only makes the public more aware of his character (or lack thereof).

  2. I don't care how much he has achieved since then, or how much he has given to charity. The things he did were so serious that they can never be expunged. Besides, what does he need a pardon for? He is free and has got it made. His pardon quest looks like a publicity stunt.